Agricultural Tenancy or Conacre

Nineteenth century legislation gave certain rights to agricultural tenants. Depending on the circumstances these rights included security of tenure and the right to receive compensation for improvements or disturbance. This effect of this legislation was complicated by the practice that developed of putting in place either a conacre agreement or an agistment agreement instead of an agricultural tenancy.

A conacre or agistment agreement is a seasonal agreement which does not create the relationship of a landlord and a tenant. It is not ideal. The licensee does not have legal certainty as to whether the agreement will be put renewed for the following season or seasons. This would influence the licensee’s investment in the land. The land owner does not know whether the licensee will take the land for the following season, and so on.

The nineteenth century legislation was repealed by the Property (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and it is now open to land owners and farmers to put in place a tenancy rather than a seasonal agreement.

Perhaps because of the relatively short periods of time covered by conacre and agistment agreements these tended to be rather simple documents, or indeed were simply put in place by the shake of a hand.

Land owners and farmers should consider putting in place a tenancy for a set term of years (with or without rent reviews), and setting out in a comprehensive way all matters relevant to such a letting such as obligations in relation to the use of pesticides, fertilizer, genetically modified crops, welfare of animals, repair and maintenance of fences.

We have prepared a range of documents for this purpose dealing with short term lettings with or without buildings and long term lettings with or without buildings and including rent review provisions.

If you would like more information in relation to these matters please contact Eric Kyle or Jonathan Coen of this office.

Note : The foregoing is a commentary on the law as at 1st specific legal advice should be taken in relation to issues arising or relating October 2014 and it is recommended that with the particular circumstances involved.

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